In a perfect world parents would always agree on parenting. The reality is we all come from different backgrounds and no two people were raised exactly the same way. We tend to repeat the parenting practices of our parents. If your a mom and your mother yelled a lot, it’s likely you will too. If you’re a dad and your dad was very involved with your upbringing, you will probably be the same. If your parents argued a lot, you will likely argue a lot with your partner or spouse.
Most of us think our way is the right way. Often Mom’s “right” is very different than Dad’s “right” and the result is a lot of tension and bickering between parents. Freqently all that bickering about whose way is right, is done in front of our kids and we’ve created an atmosphere of hostility and tension. One thing that is certain, our kids can’t thrive in the way we’d like them to if the home they’re being raised in is full of anamosity and tension.
I remember when my kids were young, I wanted to limit the junk food they consumed. My husband is less food concious than I am so he often gave them food and beverages I didn’t approve of. I made a decision to let go of my disapproval around some of the treats he gave them. I realized my display of anger towards him was much harder on our kids than the harm of eating a bag of chips once in awhile.
When I’m coaching parents I always ask them to consider the big picture. What kind of memories do you want to create? How do you want to role model healthy relationships? How important is it to you that your children grow up in a loving and peaceful home? The next time you insist your way is the right way, ask yourself if in the long run it will really matter. Will this really matter five or ten years from now? My guess is, probably not. If we’re regularly arguing with each other in front of our kids will that matter in the long run? Yes it will.